Harbor Hot Spot: Dart Coffee Ribbon Cutting

By Sigrid Toye   |   May 28, 2024
The Dart Coffee and museum staff and community members joined together to cut the ribbon

On the chilly, overcast afternoon of Thursday, May 15th the atmosphere on the patio of the historic building that houses the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM) reflected the warmth of a sunny summer day. The crowd outside the building were present to applaud the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce official ribbon cutting ceremony for a long-anticipated place to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee and other yummies overlooking the scenic Santa Barbara harbor.

The occasion was held to celebrate Dart Coffee at the Maritime Museum, the second location of the beloved coffee shop now nestled cozily in the museum’s former gift shop. Its sister location, Dart Coffee Shop & Garden, is located in Santa Barbara’s popular Funk Zone. Owners Erika and David Dart are dedicated to ethical craft-roasted coffee. Their combined life experience in the arts and sciences complements their journey into the coffee industry. The couple are committed to sourcing only the finest organic, fair-traded coffee beans from small-lot indigenous farmers. The Darts’ belief is that roasting is a balance of creativity and practiced precision… an ideal combination of both artistry and craft. 

Joining the Chamber of Commerce and the Maritime Museum were invited friends and family of the Darts, the museum’s staff, directors, members and others involved in the project. The presence of coffee enthusiasts from the harbor walkway and students from nearby City College was a testament to Dart Coffee’s having become, after just a couple of weeks, the Hot Spot… with a view! The appearance of the roll of ribbon and a pair of super scissors encouraged the crowd to gather for a welcome by Chamber of Commerce Director of Communications Mary Lynn Harms-Romo and Greg Gorga, Executive Director of the SBMM. “We’re so excited about this exceptionally beneficial partnership between the museum and Dart Coffee … the synergy was there from our first meeting with Erika and David. Since Dart’s opening a couple of weeks ago, we continue to see an exchange of visitors between the museum, the Coffee Shop, and the community,” said Gorga. Dr. Alex Weinstein, SBMM Vice President, added his congratulations on behalf of the museum’s Board of Directors.

Owner Erika Dart spoke on behalf of the shop and its employees communicating their excitement in occupying this space next to the Maritime Museum that included what might be considered the best view in town. “This location is beyond our wildest dreams! Working together with the museum and its wonderful staff make things move ahead as seamlessly as possible. We are so grateful!” Throughout the crowd great waves of compliments could be heard regarding the coffee shop’s tastefully designed and appointed interior spaces in keeping with a nautical color palette and the feel of the ocean beyond its walls. Rumor had it that Erika’s artistic inclinations might have had something to do with that! 

The entire party was asked to gather behind a wide blue ribbon after which the oversized scissors were handed to Gorga for the ribbon cutting. After a quick snap a mighty cheer arose accompanied by hugs and slaps on the back. Waterfront Director Mike Wiltshire summed up the occasion for all. “Dart Coffee has been a great addition to the harbor. It was a pleasure working with Greg Gorga and the Maritime Museum throughout the process. It’s never easy getting a project like this from an idea to reality. The Waterfront appreciates all involved and their commitment to seeing it through. A beautiful renovation of an amazing space!”  


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